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The Attitude Difference

August 19, 2018

Two weeks ago right here on this column, I wrote an article that my editor titled “Why you should move on despite various negative incidents”.  On 11th of August, exactly one week after the article appeared here, the same article appeared elsewhere in a different local newspaper but not for the reasons you might be thinking of. The writer was not plagiarizing my article but instead, he was using it as raw material for his own column. Apparently, he was correcting going through my grammar and language, highlighting to his readers the grammatical sins I had committed while writing the said article. Well, I have no problem with that and as a matter of fact, I am glad to note that he reads my articles because otherwise he would never have known that there is a column on page eight (8) of The Sunday Custodian Guardian which could give him some raw material for his own column.  


The most interesting this is that this same article that was being torn apart by one person not only generated lots of positive interaction on the day it was published, but it continued doing so even a week later. Well, is it not funny how two people can look at one exact thing yet get two completely different views? For instance in this case, while most of my readers were looking for positive takeaways to apply in their lives, someone was busy looking for errors from the same article to publish to the world. How interesting!   


Indeed no wonder someone once said that, “One man’s meat is another man’s poison”. For instance, I love dogs but not everyone in my circle feels the same. I love reading personal development books but I know a few people who prefer reading gutter press. I enjoy road trips (and would do anything to go on one right now), but I can give you a list of people I know who always endure them whenever they happen. In other words, we all have “meats” and “poisons” in life. We see things differently and as a result, we act or react differently to what we see.


For instance, here is a story I saw somewhere on the internet which is a classic example of how two people can look at the same thing (in this case a situation) and have two very different interpretations of the same. Here goes...


One night, just before a shopkeeper closed for the day, a dog came into the shop, having a bag in his mouth. The bag had a list of items to be bought and money in his collar, so the shopkeeper took the money and put the items on the list in the bag.

As soon as the shopkeeper was done, the dog picked up the bag of items and quickly left. The shopkeeper was surprised at the intelligence of the dog and followed him to see who the owner was. 

The dog waited at the bus stop and after sometime, a bus came and the dog got into the bus. As soon as the conductor came, he moved forward to show his neck belt which had money and the address as well. The conductor took the money and put the ticket in his neck belt again.

When he reached the destination, the dog went to the front and wagged his tail indicating that he wanted to get down, and the moment the bus stopped, he got off. All the while the shopkeeper was still following him. The dog knocked on the door of a house with his paws. After a while, the owner came from inside and after opening the door, he started beating the dog with a stick.

The shocked shopkeeper asked the owner, "why are you beating the dog?", to which the owner replied, "he disturbed my sleep when he knocked on the door. He could have taken his keys with him."


This is the truth of life. There is no end to the expectations people will have of you. 


Human beings have this tendency of keeping record of all the wrong one does but not the good. All the good done in the past is often forgotten in the face of a mistake. Any small mistake committed gets magnified and often blown out of proportion. You can do a hundred things for people but once you do a little mistake they forget all that you have done for them. They capitalize on that little mistake, holding it against you whereas they themselves are not perfect.  


Look at the owner of the dog for example. He did not see the dog’s faithfulness,  intelligence, discipline and all those great things you all must have seen as you were reading the story, yet instead of appreciation the poor dog got a beating. I wonder what you would have done if you had been the dog owner; would you have given him a belly rub for using his common sense to knock the door with his paws or punished the poor canine for forgetting his keys? Would you have appreciated him for not losing the shopping list and the money you had given him or what would you have done? I know what I would have done for sure, and it would have had nothing to do with inflicting any kind of pain on the poor dog.


Friends, not everyone will see things the same way you do. Many are the times people will misunderstand you and even misjudge you when things don’t go as expected. Most people (especially those close to you) have no idea what you go through daily to make sure they are comfortable in life. They don’t know the sacrifices you make for them, but just make a mistake of not fulfilling one of their requirements and you’ll see what happens. Instead of them appreciating you or complementing you for all you do, they will make sure you never forget what you didn’t do right. They will discredit you in ways you cannot believe. 


People who have a tendency of seeing things from a negative light really need help. I personally say that they have a wrong configuration somewhere in their minds and hearts that needs to be rectified.  We are all human beings and are prone to making mistakes or errors of judgement, which may lead to some negative results. However, it is important that when that happens, before people rush to conclusions, it is good to evaluate the situation to establish why the mistake happened.  Choose to maintain a positive mindset while investigating the situation and even if you do deduce that someone was at fault, find a positive way of dealing with the situation.


Of course I know a positive attitude is not something that comes naturally; you have to cultivate it. It requires you to apply a high level of discipline to consciously decide to see things in a positive light even when there is little positivity evident. It requires true determination to remain positive especially when everyone and everything around you is completely negative. 


It is for this reason that this week in the ongoing #52BooksIn52Weeks2018 Book Reading Challenge I am recommending The Power Of Positive Thinking, an old time classic written by the late Norman Vincent Peale. The book gives its readers great tools to achieve a happy, satisfying and worthwhile life. Get yourself a copy and I believe you will start seeing life in a different light.


Speaking of seeing things in a different light, I thank the guy who was correcting my article for highlighting the fact that I used the statement “chewing cud” wrongly. He was very right when he said I should have said, “chewing the cud”. I also thank him because now I know writers from other media houses do read my column. I have to admit that if it hadn’t been for a friend who forwarded me that article, I would never have known this happens.  I take it as a good thing because it means my message of positivity has been spreading further than I had imagined. 


In closing, kindly allow me to echo the words of Matt Cameron who said, “Live life to the fullest, and focus on the positive. I choose to focus on the positive too.


Be Ignited. Be Inspired. Be Influenced. Become the best version of yourself you can ever be.


PS: This article was originally published in Tanzania's Guardian On Sunday on the 19th August, 2018, under my weekly column "Thoughts in Words".​​​




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